The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in July, 2012

Civil Procedure Rules

By on Jul 19, 2012 | 2 comments

A further definition from The (Alternative) Legal Costs Dictionary: Civil Procedure Rules n. a set of rules set in stone and designed to provide certainty in the operation of the civil justice system, applied inconsistently and unpredictably by the courts. Currently in its 58th version. If the Ten Commandments had undergone changes and additions at the same pace, the Forty-fourth-thousand-third-hundred and Eleventh Commandment would be concerned with the size of marmite...

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Senior Courts Costs Office

By on Jul 18, 2012 | 1 comment

The Senior Courts Costs Office has very helpfully provided me with a list of room numbers for Costs Judges and Costs Officers in the new Thomas More Building and these are as below: 6th Floor Thomas More Building Mr Lambert – TM6.05 Mr Edwards – TM6.05a Mr Baker – TM6.05a Mr Piggott – TM6.06 Master Gordon-Saker – TM6.07 Master Leonard – TM6.09 Master Simons – Court 57 7th Floor Thomas More Building Master Haworth – TM7.06 Chief Master Hurst – TM7.08 Master O’Hare – Court 58 8th Floor Thomas More Building Master Campbell – Court 59 Mr Martin – TM8.06 This is particularly helpful for those Costs Judges who have the old court rooms as the court room numbers do not correspond with the floor numbers. Hopefully this will save some of you a few frantic minutes running round the corridors or up and down in the...

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The new proportionality test

By on Jul 16, 2012 | 1 comment

Lord Neuberger, in a lecture on the new proportionality test, recently stated: “It would be positively dangerous for me to seek to give any sort of specific or detailed guidance in a lecture before the new rule has come into force and been applied. Any question relating to proportionality and any question relating to costs is each very case-sensitive, and when the two questions come together, that is all the more true. The law on proportionate costs will have to be developed on a case by case basis. This may mean a degree of satellite litigation while the courts work out the law, but we should be ready for that, and I hope it will involve relatively few cases.” This approach is difficult to understand. Self-evidently, no two cases are alike. However, the vast majority of litigation is routine in nature (even if relatively complex on occasions) and does not involve unusual factors that take the claims outside the usual (ie where it is not test litigation and there are no reputational or public importance issues arising). Therefore the answer to the question of what level of costs is it proportionate to incur to recover £25,000 should not normally require consideration of any special fact specific issue. (Consideration of what work was “reasonably” incurred is, of course, case specific but applying the Jackson test: “proportionality should prevail over reasonableness”. Therefore, discovering what work was reasonably incurred on an individual case does not tell us what is proportionate.) Indeed, it is difficult to see why the answer to the issue of what is a proportionate level of costs to recover £25,000 should normally vary from case-to-case. On the other hand, if the amount of costs it is proportionate to incur to recover £25,000 is indeed to vary in every single case, it is difficult to see what useful guidance the courts are ever going to be able to give and the idea the “satellite litigation” on the issue will be limited is, at best, wishful...

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Part 36 gone mad?

By on Jul 13, 2012 | 3 comments

In a recent statement to Parliament the justice minister Jonathan Djanogly announced that, in light of further recommendations from the Civil Justice Council, implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will include the following: “There is to be an additional sanction to be paid where judgment for the claimant is more advantageous than a defendant’s part 36 offer. This additional sanction is to be calculated as 10% of damages where damages are in issue, and 10% of costs for non-damages claims”. This is almost the exact opposite of what Lord Justice Jackson proposed: “Where a defendant rejects a claimant’s offer, but fails to do better at trial, the claimant’s recovery should be enhanced by 10%.” I am currently proceeding on the basis that the minister’s statement contains an obvious error. The alternative is too bizarre to consider. (Remember, Part 36 will apply to costs proceedings come April...

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The true cost of bringing a legal claim

By on Jul 10, 2012 | 4 comments

Deborah Evans, chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, writing in the New Law Journal, stated: “The truth is, only claimant lawyers know the true cost of bringing valid claims.” This is a startlingly frank admission and proves what I have long suspected: claimant bills of costs are unlikely to give any clue as to the work actually done on a...

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